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UMWA construction members ratify new contract with no concessions

date: 
May 30, 2007

A new collective bargaining agreement covering nearly 3,000 active and retired United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members working in the mine construction industry was ratified last night with a 71 percent favorable vote. UMWA construction members in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, Illinois and Indiana participated in the voting.
 
“There are no concessions in this agreement,” said UMWA Secretary-Treasurer Dan Kane, who led the UMWA’s bargaining team. “That’s saying something, given the nature of the coal construction industry and the difficulties we faced at the bargaining table. We are very pleased to be able to move forward with a new agreement that will provide a strong measure of security and stability for our members and their families.”
 
Under the new agreement with the Association of Bituminous Contractors (ABC), UMWA construction members working at the top rate will receive a 15.7 percent pay increase over the life of the three-year agreement. Pensions were improved, retiree health care benefits were maintained and health care deductibles for active workers were not increased, even though that had originally been a key demand by the ABC.
 
“This set of negotiations was the last opportunity the ABC had to reach an agreement before we were forced to strike,” Kane said. “We did not want to have to take that step, but our members were prepared if it came to that. Fortunately, it did not.”
 
“These negotiations were extremely difficult,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “Our construction members have been working for nearly two years without a contract. They demonstrated their commitment to their families, their union and their industry during that very frustrating time, and this new agreement will go a long way to help ease that frustration.”
 
Coal construction workers build coal preparation plants, beltlines, shafts and slopes, buildings and other large structures used at both underground and surface coal operations.

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